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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A new gallery for Matakana

A new gallery is to built in Omaha Valley Rd, near Matakana, called The VivianOliver King, who is to manage the gallery, kindly consented to be interviewed for Rodney Arts Notes.

Opening a new gallery anywhere is a brave move. What prompted your decision to open a gallery and what is your vision for your new gallery near Matakana?

The idea of opening a gallery has been floating around for sometime and I guess the prompt was a need for another art experience in Matakana. Having been involved with the last Mahurangi Group Show, it reaffirmed to me the need to establish a top-tier art gallery in Matakana. There is a group of local professional artists within the community who exhibit at dealer galleries throughout New Zealand but rarely within their own community, as there is no gallery that represents this caliber of artist.

So it only felt natural from a personal point of view, to build a home to showcase their work to the community. The outcome of this is The Vivian. As a friend, I have a greater understanding of the their work and the environment in which they live, while at the same time controlling the language in which it is delivered.

What sorts of art do you intend to showcase and what will be the ratio of local and national art?

The Vivian will focus primarily on these professional local artists. I believe it is important to have the artists' works displayed in the environment in which it is created. 

We are not looking at expanding quickly but would rather let it evolve over time and at its own pace. However we do plan to expand the invitation to include guest artists from throughout New Zealand to offer a different conversation within the area, while continuing to keep the rural experience at its core.

The mediums will range from painting, photography and sculpture to video and installation work.

What will distinguish your gallery from others in the area, or from the Auckland City galleries?

The Vivian will be a home to the artists we represent. The home will offer a relaxed, comfortable and less formal environment to view and interact with art and artist alike.

Set on a 3-acre block of rural pasture The Vivian will offer an experience unlike other galleries with a library, indoor and outside works, themed shows, potbelly, a place to comment on the works or experience. The Vivian wants to be a gallery where people feel at ease to talk and discuss the art. The Vivian will always encourage engagement whether the consumer is visiting the gallery or visiting the website.

The visual arts are a small niche market and it's difficult to run a gallery profitably in the city, let alone away from a population centre. How do you plan to market yourself, to offset the disadvantages of a rural location?

I don't believe it is a disadvantage to be based rurally and we are really excited about the fact. I think it gives us a point of difference and the freedom to do things the way we would like, rather than comparing ourselves to anyone else. The Vivian is an assemblage of friends, art, artists, relationships, 
building and the celebration of rural aesthetics. The Vivian will be a destination rural experience and is a purpose built structure surrounded by pasture, native bush and two ponds. 

Our approach will be very much community and social media focused and intend to concentrate on these social touch points. Online will play a major role in The Vivian's life. We plan to showcase the artists in their homes, with their family and their things. To give the audience the artist as well as the art.

The Vivian artists will also be around to talk about the work and making of the work both online and in the gallery itself.

When do you hope to open your gallery?

We hope to be open by September, weather dependent.

Many thanks, Oliver, for taking the time to respond to my questions. I wish you the very best of luck with the new venture.
Richard Smallfield

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